Movie Review, Etc.

Obviously Saw it Opening Weekend.

I was complaining about movies on here a couple of weeks ago.  That was me, right?  It was.  So, I suppose I should mention when I see a good one, offer my endorsement.  Considering the influx of hits I got thanks to the giant bar tab picture, I figure I might send 4, possibly 5 people to the theater.  Anyway, Bridesmaids.  I didn’t focus on it in my last post, because this is the work of a huge studio, is hyped to the point of exhaustion and has fleeting comedy movie genius Judd Apatow behind it.  You were going to hear about this movie without me.  I checked it out on Sunday afternoon and I have to say, it is very funny.  Certainly, the ladies are probably going to feel that deeper connection, but unless you are one of those idiots out there that think women can’t be funny–it’s worth seeing.  Kristen Wiig is very good (and often cringe-worthy) as the main character and the supporting Bridesmaids all do their part.  It’s certainly not a standard chick flick.  The humor is of the physical/raunchy breed just like any of the other Apatow movies. There’s also the standard lull just before the ending, but that’s about the only negative I can pinpoint.  I laughed.  Pretty dang hard.

***

Did I ever mention on here that I love designer apple hybrids?  I mean, these trendy little apples from New Zealand and other foreign lands have really saved the apple market.  In case you didn’t know this, apples grow on trees, which makes them seasonal.  It used to be the Fall was a great time to get an apple, and every other time…not so much.  I’m a crispness man.  Gotta have it.  If all fruit had the crunch of a good apple, I’d be the fruitiest son of a gun in three counties.  Well aware of what I just said there.  Anyway, I can’t deal with a mealy apple.  Straight to the trash!  What do you do for a crisp apple?  Well, back in the day you ate a G. Smith, snack on some Fujis and that’s about it.  I’m talking top-shelf crispness, here.

Well, about a year ago I got into a heavy apple eating rotation.  I started with the standard Fuji apple, but then as late summer rolled around I encountered the great Honey Crisp apple.  I figured its days were numbered, what with winter on the way eventually, but that’s where New Zealand comes in.  Southern Hemisphere.  Total mind-blower.  They are doing crazy things with apples down there…all crisp and delicious.  The Ambrosia, the Jazz, and just today I picked up a variety called the Smitten.  Who’s Smitten? (waving hands wildly).  So, it now looks like you can go pretty much year round now without sinking your teeth into a god-awful Red Delicious.  I’m telling you, Smitten…check it out.  And, good for New Zealand.  Seems like a hell of  a place.

***

MLB Underdog of the Day:  Friday’s Result:  Winner!  Financial Status: (-$505)

Hey, that’s two in a row.  Pretty rare.  Three in a row is unprecedented, and that’s what I’ll be shooting for tonight. Friday seems like ages ago, but if you remember that was a win over Oakland.  It’s always good to bet against these teams that can’t score.  You are always in the game.  The White Sox jumped out quick and held on, which is good enough for me.

Today’s Selection:  New York (+125) over Tampa.

I think the Yankees are ready to put the old, “Jorge’s Old–WAAAAAH” controversy behind them and end the losing streak.  David Price is coming off a good start I think, but he’s not the kind of guy who is lights out every time just yet. He takes his share of lumps as they say.  New York squashes some panic for one night.  Let’s roll on.

***

Quiz of the Day:  Second Letter “A”.  Category: Anglish Words.  My Score: 24/26.

Beatable Score!

Expectations; Fans Sucking the Fun Out of the Season.

Enjoy Yourselves For Once.

Is anyone having any fun watching the Phillies this year?  Anyone at all with a little jump in their step because the Phillies are in first place?  Where are the optimists?  We all know that pessimism has a permanent home in the Philadelphia sports culture.  And, we know that it is the most panicked voices that become the easiest to hear through the abundance of media outlets, but still this is getting ridiculous.  I believe that teams should be held to a high standard.  Brainwashed, Flyers apologists drive me crazy (I may be one myself).  I wrote a post last year about fans starting to blindly trust the Phillies front office.  Well, the results of last season and this year have eroded that stance a good bit, but there is still a difference between that and what I’m talking about here.  I’m sure most people still think (or hope) that the Phillies will make changes if necessary, but right now that kind of speculation is mostly buried under this daily worst-case scenario mentality.

I know a couple of Phillies fans who are going with the flow.  Some seem to realize that the team has changed in make up over the last 3 or 4 years and the hard-swinging, score book defacing days of scoring 850 runs a year are long gone.  The Phillies are working on steady offensive decline.  It’s probably time to realize that Jimmy Rollins isn’t going to win another MVP award.  And, 58 HR/150 RBI campaigns probably won’t happen for anyone around baseball, and definitely not for Ryan Howard.  Pitching, that’s where the focus has gone.  Every major move has revolved around pitching, and that’s the team we have before us–loaded on pitching (note the pitching depth as opposed to the shocking lack of position player depth).  If the Phillies scored 850 runs this year, they might as well have cancelled the season.  I guess that is what people wanted though, because the mantra you hear day in, day out, seems to be, “we’re screwed.”

The two biggest causes for concern are that the Phillies aren’t hitting enough and that they cannot beat good teams.  On the hitting front, you’d have to be a moron to miss the fact the Phillies certainly aren’t tearing the cover off the ball, but some perspective would be nice.  Like it or not, offense is way down all over the league.  On Saturday there were six shutouts in 15 games.  It’s down to early 1980s levels.  Now, I know most people out there started paying attention in mid-September 2007, but back then teams weren’t lighting up the scoreboards.  If you hit 32 homers, you might accidentally lead the league.

This brings me to Charlie, and the role he plays in all this.  Charlie says he knows the numbers are down, but doesn’t care.  It shouldn’t be making a difference to his hitters.  Well, that’s a good mentality in some ways, but it’s also incredibly ignorant.  That’s like saying, “Oh, this recession isn’t going to hurt me.”  Well, that could be true, but at the very least you have to make adjustments, and that is what Charlie seems incapable or unwilling to do.  He’s still running his business like the economy is booming, and it is most decidedly not.

In broader terms, the offense could be worse and should get better.  If you really want to see a bad offense go to Seattle, or San Diego, or San Fran, Washington, Houston…the list goes on.  Plenty of teams out there can’t score 4 runs a game, let alone five.  The Phillies have plenty of room for improvement and should get better.  Raul Ibanez should be past rock bottom at this point.  The same goes for Carlos Ruiz.  Chase Utley should eventually be back, and hopefully Victorino as well.  He may be the position player they can least afford to lose.  But, considering this team has given Wilson Valdez, Pete Orr, Brian Schneider and the like consistent at-bats things aren’t all bad.  The majority of the top of the order are having respectable years.

As far as beating good teams goes, this is again where some perspective would be nice.  I think we’re falling victim here to the neophyte baseball fan, or perhaps a football fan mentality.  No team out there rips off a .700 winning percentage against the best teams in the league.  Or, if they do, it’s extremely rare.  Here’s a newsflash for you, 2/3 of the National League is terrible.  The majority of the games this year will be played against sub-par teams.  You’ve got 36 against the Braves and Marlins. Then maybe six each with five other contenders and some interleague action.  A good 1/2 the schedule is against these teams that the Phillies beat up on without mercy.  If they go 20-25 games over .500 against the slop, they barely have to play above .500 against the rest to get into the 95-win range.  And, they are hardly getting man-handled.  Overall record of 6-6 against Florida and Atlanta (who recently was almost swept by free wins Washington, just FYI).  We want to panic over 12 games?

The point is, we’re about 1/4 of the way through this thing.  There is still a long way to go, and I, for one, would like to enjoy the remaining 120 games.  Very little has gone perfectly for the Phillies this year, and yet they still sit atop their division.  But after every loss and even after the wins it’s concern over what isn’t going right.  People say they don’t care about being in first now, they just care about winning in October.  Well, pardon my judgment, but that makes you an assh*le.  If you only care about what happens in the playoffs, please, PLEASE tune out now and let the rest of us enjoy the regular season.  Close games and pitcher’s duels can be fun too.  Broaden your horizons.

And, people shouldn’t be so surprised on a nightly basis.  You can see these Phils slumps coming a mile away.  This week’s mini-series in St. Louis should bring a nice mix.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they get to Westbrook tonight and then get totally baffled by Garcia on Tuesday.  That’s the way this team goes.